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  • Day14

    Day 14. (Day 2 Mathiba)

    October 10, 2019 in Botswana ⋅ ☁️ 35 °C

    We are now used to the routine of getting ready for school & breakfasting prior to departure from Sitatunga. This morning - a cloudy, cooler day to start with - we set off before 7.15 and drove through Maun centre, passed the airport, to Mathiba Memorial Primary School. The school is at the end of the airport runway and we had frequent small aircraft, delta lodge bound, take off over us in the course of the morning.

    The 1000+ students started lining up for Assembly as we arrived and once we were in position in front of them we were treated to a whole-assembly dance and song, which was a fabulous African greeting. They were remarkably rhythmic and intensely focused, the little ones keenly determined to do their best.

    At the end of Assembly and introductions from their Executives and Stephen Marnoch, they started singing “When the Saints go marching in” and year groups peeled off and went to their classrooms .

    The remaining Standard IIs were divided into small groups, which found a shady spot, and Oxley began its teaching morning.

    The pairs of Oxley students spent the next 2 hours teaching, swapping groups every 40 minutes or so for the variety. It was great fun and everybody enjoyed the experience.

    After break, we walked out of the ‘Oxley Gates’ the 400 metres to the local clinic. After a bit of a wait, while the waiting room emptied, we entered the HIV Aids section where we listened to a talk by a male nurse and an administrator. We were given an overview as to how the clinic dealt with their patients.

    Returning to Mathiba, we sat in the shade of an admin building corridor and ate our packed lunch.

    After lunch, we were invited by the Standard VIs to a ‘cultural welcome’. It was a most interesting hour or so. Mathiba have really worked hard to make our visit memorable and their organisation has been impressive. It is obvious they value their link with Oxley.

    Staff spoke, children acted in traditional costume, singing and ululating occurred, a gift was given and games played (a local traditional board game) and skipping took place. It also gave Oxley the opportunity to handover the books and games each student had brought. It was a great ending to our visits to Mathiba this trip and we were sad to say farewell to the friends we had made.

    While we waited for our transport to arrive, the wind gusted, a storm blew up and there was lightning and thunder. A few raindrops fell - Oxley’s first in their visits to Botswana - but nothing really came of it. We hope that it is the start of a much needed rainy season.

    The usual ‘Choppies’ supermarket stop occurred on the way home to camp and we were back by 5.00. Everyone relaxed until our guest speakers arrived at 6.00. We had a fascinating evening with Drs Leanne van der Weyde and Jess Isden sharing their experience in cheetah (Leanne) and lion (Jess) conservation and mitigation. This was the third time the two had shared their experiences with Oxley groups and it is really appreciated.

    Jess and Leanne joined us for dinner - as did Edward of the Sedie Science Department - and it was an interesting conversation.

    We broke up about 9.00 and slowly headed for bed, exhausted. It had been a busy, rewarding and overwhelming (by the enthusiasm of the Mathiba staff and students) sort of day.
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  • Day17

    Day 17. Homeward Bound

    October 13, 2019 in Botswana ⋅ ⛅ 33 °C

    We were in no rush this morning with breakfast at 8.00. Tents were cleared and bags stored in Mr Craig’s tent, ready for delivery at the airport by midday.

    After breakfast we eventually climbed on to our transport for our last ride into Maun and we were dropped off adjacent to the airport. Once everybody had arrived we climbed up to the first floor movie theatre for a showing of biographical tribute to the life of Tim Liversedge. Tim has had a huge impact on the Maun region, as a scientist, a travel industry entrepreneur, and a cinematographer (Roar: Lions of the Kalahari). For his work as a naturalist Tim was given an honorary doctorate by the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.

    Tim and June Liversedge were in attendance after the video and it was great to catch up with them (as we have done for the past 3 visits). We adjourned to the cafe around the corner and were joined by Senatla Mokobela, the Sedie principal.

    From there we collected our bags and checked in for our flight to Johannesburg. The small SALink jet took 1:20 to get to ORTambo in Johannesburg. After clearing Customs we headed for the familiar cafe to base ourselves for the duration of our transition.
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  • Day16

    Day 16. Horse-back game-viewing

    October 12, 2019 in Botswana ⋅ ⛅ 30 °C

    There was no urgency about the start of today. No wake-up calls, no hurry-ups. Half of the group had no deadline to meet. All wandered slowly up to breakfast at 7.00 in their own time.

    By 7.30 we had been joined by local resident, Dany Hancock, of Rides on the Wildside, who had split the students into 2 groups, one to ride in the morning and the other in the afternoon. Dany had organised our transport to the private game reserve where we were to ride. We were soon on the back of a truck and because the Thamalakane River is dry were able to take a short cut across the river bed to the horse stables.

    Once inside the reserve we divided again with one group grooming horses and the other riding. Led by a guide, with an assistant behind, we rode in single file gradually increasing in confidence as the ride progressed. Some groups walked, other more competent riders were able to be more challenged.

    In the course of the ride we were able to see close up several giraffes, eland, zebra, springbok, gemsbok, ostrich and monkeys. It was a great way to view the wildlife: very different to our previous experiences.

    The two groups then swapped over, both having a ride, a grooming session and a period of relaxation back in the camp at Sitatunga. The theory for those back in camp was to pre-pack and organise (R&R) before the start of the long haul tomorrow to return home.

    Charlotte, the Sitatunga cook, did us proud again for dinner - steak and boerewors. We had our final de-brief of the tour and then talked about tomorrow’s arrangements for our travel to the airport and onwards.

    It was a tired group who headed for bed - but everyone had had a great ride.
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  • Day41

    Sitatunga Camp

    July 19, 2017 in Botswana ⋅ 🌙 17 °C

    First impressions of this campsite weren't too good but after we set up our tents it was okay, there wasn't much shade and the ground was sandy but that's okay because they made up for it with good showers and toilets.

    Nicole's truck is staying at this camp as well, it will be the last time that we see each other for a while.
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  • Day43

    Sitatunga Camp

    July 21, 2017 in Botswana ⋅ ☀️ 23 °C

    After an hour and a half drive on the back of the truck and a night in the Okavango Delta, we made it back to Sitatunga Camp. It's nice to come back to our tents already (still) set up, most rushed for the shower but I was booked in to do the scenic flight over the Okavango Delta, instead of being late I thought I would wait until after.Read more

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